After coming so close last year, the San Antonio Spurs didn't let the Miami Heat get close this year.
NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard scored 22 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, while Manu Ginobili and Patty Mills scored 19 and 17 points off the bench, respectively, as the Spurs defeated the Heat 104-87 to win the franchise's fifth NBA championship and deny Miami a third consecutive title.
The victory gave the Spurs their first title since 2007. The franchise also won the Larry O'Brien trophy in 1999, 2003, and 2005. They nearly bested the Heat last year, but blew a five-point lead with 20 seconds to go in Game 6, and lost the decisive Game 7 on Miami's home floor.
The tandem of head coach Gregg Popovich and and star forward Tim Duncan have been a part of all five NBA titles for the Spurs while Ginobili and teammate Tony Parker won their fourth championship.
"Hard to believe, isn't it? Ginobili said. "We played at a really high level."
"Just a great team and we do it together," Parker said.
This year, with home court advantage, the Spurs won three straight after splitting the first two games. San Antonio trailed 22-6 in the first quarter, but later rallied and pulled away with a 37-13 run spanning the late second and early third quarters. San Antonio's smallest margin of victory in the series was 15 points.
LeBron James scored 31 points and added 10 rebounds, but no other Miami player scored more than 13 points as the Heat were held to 40 percent shooting and only made seven of their 25 three-point shots.
The painful conclusion to last year served as the fuel for this one, powering the Spurs to a 62-win season that topped the NBA and led to a rematch with Miami, the NBA's first in the finals since Chicago beat Utah in 1997-98.
Round 2 went to the Spurs, but both teams will have challenges to navigate on their way to a possible rubber match.
San Antonio will face questions -- as it has for years -- about the age of its core, and whether Duncan, Ginobili and Popovich want to stick around. The Heat will brace for the potential free agency of James, Wade and Bosh, and will need younger, fresher pieces around the three All-Stars if they all stay.
But this moment belongs to the Spurs. Playing a methodical style for many years that was predicated on throwing the ball into Duncan made San Antonio respected, but never beloved. The Spurs were TV ratings killers, casual viewers finding them not much fun to watch.
But Popovich opened up the offense a few years ago, making the Spurs an easy-to-like, tough-to-beat group that thrives on ball movement and 3-point shooting.
"You showed the world how beautiful this game is," Commissioner Adam Silver told the Spurs during the postgame award ceremony.
A decade and a half after winning their first title, when Duncan was in his second season, the Spurs remain the NBA's model organization, a small-market team that simply wins big and hardly ever does it with a high draft pick. Instead, the Spurs found players overseas or in other organizations who would fit the Spurs' way of doing things and mesh with the Duncan, Parker and Ginobili, the winningest trio in postseason history.
That included Leonard, acquired in a draft-night trade with Indiana after playing at San Diego State, and Patty Mills, an Australian national who scored 17 points off the bench.
No team has overcome a 3-1 deficit in the finals, but the Heat were confident they could keep this season going, Bosh saying earlier Sunday that the Heat were going to win.
It appeared they would do it easily the way the game started, with James coming out with force on offense and shutting down Parker on defense as Miami went ahead 22-6.
But it didn't last.
While it took San Antonio a little while to get warmed up, the Spurs eventually made it look stunningly easy again -- much to the delight of the home crowd, with fans standing, chanting and dancing much of the second half.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.